General Affidavit can be defined as written document in which the signer swears under oath before a notary public or someone authorized to take oaths (like a Court Clerk), that the statements in the document are true. The person swearing the statement is known as affiant or deponent, and person or legal entity witnessing authenticity of the affiant’s signature, who may be a notary public or commissioner of oaths is called as taker.
The necessity of General Affidavit arises, when the person has to swear the facts provided by him are true. For example, you are buying a house but not sure about the owner. Thus, the owner can satisfy you by drawing the affidavit and swearing that he is the real owner of the house. As it is authenticated or signed before a witness, who may be notary public or someone authorized to take oaths, it becomes legal documents. If the information thus sworn in turns out to be incorrect then, the concerned parties to the Affidavit draw punishment from the court of the law. It must also be remembered that an affidavit is a sworn document and taken under oath, it carries significant weight..
Affidavits are mostly used in the legal context to provide a reliable source of factual information in legal proceedings.
There are different types of Affidavits drawn for different purposes, as their requirements are felt on the specific occasion. For example Affidavits may be drawn for the loss of stock certificate and to show that the stocks lost by you were truly yours or you may change your name and draw up an affidavit to show that the changed name person is you, who was previously called so and so. Similarly there are different occasions, when you may have draw up an affidavit to state the true facts about you and the subject, for which the affidavit is drawn.
But, it is also wise to understand that, an affidavit is a sworn statement it carries with it the penalty of perjury. Hence, you must be careful in drawing up an Affidavit and should record the true fact only in the drawn sworn in statement..